the first consultation, the practitioner aims to determine
the nature of the disharmony in the patient's mind/body by
careful questioning and observation.
detailed understanding is required of the patient's
symptoms, past medical and family history, lifestyle and
diet, behaviour of all the systems in the body such as
digestion and circulation, sleep patterns, and emotional
feelings. Diagnosis may also include examination of the
tongue for its structure, colour and coating and of the
pulses at the wrists, which are felt for their quality,
rhythm and strength.
the practitioner is looking for is not symptoms in
isolation, but rather a pattern into which is woven a
total picture of the patient. Having decided on the cause
or causes of the problem, the points and appropriate
method of treatment are selected according to various
rules governing the movement of Qi ("chee") in
acupuncture treatment, needles are either inserted for a
second or two or left in place for up to 20 to 30 minutes,
depending on the effect required. During this time there
may be a heavy sensation in the limbs and a pleasant
feeling of relaxation.
a herbal preparation known as moxa is smouldered on or
held near to the acupuncture point and removed when the
patient feels it becoming hot. Gentle electrical stimuli
may also be applied through the needles, giving a
sensation of tingling or buzzing.
methods of treating acupuncture points include massage
(acupressure), tapping with a rounded probe, and laser.
These are techniques that are particularly suitable for
children or for people who have a genuine fear of needles.
with acupuncture can produce rapid results but more often
it requires a number of treatments over a period of time.
Usually treatments are once or twice a week, but they can be less frequent. Sometimes the effect is quite
dramatic and the patient will only need one or two
treatments. Sometimes the effect is subtle and may require
treatment for several months. There is, however, usually
some change after about five treatments.